Sen. Cassidy introduces SMART fund to help float state and local governments

WWL Newsroom
May 20, 2020 - 6:56 am
Bill Cassidy

Senator Bill Cassidy is one of two lawmakers introducing bipartisan federal legislation aiming to deliver $500 billion in emergency funding to states and communities with the State and Municipality Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Act.  Cassidy says a state’s share of funding in a series of payments is based upon three factors.

“First, population.  Louisiana really doesn’t win there.  I wish we didn’t win in any of these categories.  The second traunch is the physical impact per capita, a tremendous impact upon us, and third would be the financial impact,” said Cassidy.

The first payment could go out immediately, the second would go out at the end of June, and the third at the end of the year.

Cassidy says estimates indicate the state’s tax revenue has taken a hit in the range of 42-46% and points to the state’s reliance on tourism as a big contributing element of the revenue shortfall.

“We just skipped the major part of the tourism year.  For example, Jazzfest being cancelled, but not just Jazzfest.  The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Festival de Acadian in Lafayette, etcetera,” said Cassidy.

Cassidy says the President has indicated support for the measure, but there are other hurdles in getting the bill to his desk, adding that the faster the money gets into local and state governments, the better.

“The longer it takes for federal aid to be approved, the more conservative the state and local policy makers will need to be, which is to say the more layoffs they will have to do,” said Cassidy.

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